Report from Environment Commissioner confirms continued failure of Harper Conservatives

The Green Party of Canada is disturbed by the government’s lack of meaningful response to today’s Report from Canada’s Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development.

“Once again, the Harper Conservatives glibly claim that they accept the report’s recommendations – the exact same response they have given to the dozens of reports that preceded it,” said Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich–Gulf Islands. “Meanwhile, they have no credible plan whatsoever for how the recommendations will be implemented,”

The six-chapter report released this morning details the government’s ongoing failure to implement its own Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (2012), the near total absence of environmental monitoring and regulation in the oil sands, and an alarming lack of progress in mitigating climate change.

The report also highlights significant safety concerns regarding marine navigation in the Canadian Arctic, noting that the Arctic coastline remains inadequately mapped, and that the government is short of icebreakers, with the two most effective ships to be decommissioned by 2022.

“Unfortunately, it seems that the only ships in the Canadian Arctic that the Harper Conservatives care about are the ones that were on the Franklin Expedition,” added May.

Among the Commissioner’s findings were that the government had made unsatisfactory progress in each of four benchmark areas for mitigating climate change, and that Canada’s Copenhagen Accord target of a 17-percent reduction in emissions below 2005 levels by 2020 would almost certainly be missed.

“As this report makes clear, the Harper Conservatives’ sector-by-sector regulatory approach has been an utter and complete failure. This government has no hope of meeting even its own weakened climate targets, much less our Copenhagen commitments,” concluded May. “After more than eight years of empty promises, this government has made zero progress in regulating the oil sands or reducing Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions.”